The last comprehensive planning for Dawson Park was undertaken in the 1970s through the development of the Capital City Recreation Park Concept Plan. Most of the infrastructure that exists in Dawson Park is a legacy of that plan including a parking lot, hiking and biking trails, rest area with toilets, benches, and preserved natural area.
While Dawson Park has not seen a significant change since the 1970s, the surrounding communities, recreation demands, and the city certainly have. The growing communities of Cromdale and Boyle Street, while visually linked to the park, remain physically disconnected. Social issues within the park pose both environmental risks and safety concerns for area residents and park users. Noxious and invasive plant species present in the park threaten the area's biodiversity. The master plan provides a starting point to investigate these and other issues, identify solutions and partnerships and establish a framework for moving forward.
Public engagement involving the surrounding neighbourhoods, stakeholders and city-wide residents began in 2016 and was completed in 2017. The public engagement was completed in four phases. The master plan will help create a lasting legacy for Dawson Park that reflects the needs of today while enhancing and preserving the ecological integrity of Dawson Park as part of Edmonton’s river valley park system for generations to come.